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Before Covid-19, the norm for businesses was a standard 9 am – 6 pm office job with meetings in between. Working from home came as a benefit, except for some specifically modern companies who allowed their employees to work remotely for some days. 

The future of work is hybrid – this study by Workplace Intelligence reveals 75% of employees are willing to give up at least one job perk for the freedom to choose their work environment. Hybrid work describes the flexibility given to employees to split their work time between working from home and in the office. This model is one that allows you to balance all the benefits of in-person meetings with the ability to manage your personal and professional schedules. 

This change that seems to represent the future of work has raised many questions. What is the future of business meetings? Will all of our meetings be virtual meetings? When are face-to-face business meetings better?

There are many scenarios when in-person business meetings are more conducive and effective than virtual meetings. As for the benefits of a physical workspace, employees cited the ability to focus and collaborate as one of them. Meeting up physically enables better interaction with colleagues and clients too. 

If you are looking for unique locations for your next team meeting, our Cityscapes series features some inspiring places ideal for large groups. This article covers the benefits of face-to-face meetings and why a fully remote workforce should not be the answer just yet for many companies.

1. They give room for more effective communication

Effective communication is most times 70% to 90% non-verbal expressions and how the listener processes these expressions. An in-person, well-planned, structured, and organised meeting will go a long way in keeping colleagues engaged and upbeat. 

It also gives you the room to make good use of gestures to communicate confidence and expertise. Imagine how much you understand a person from their body language alone – from posture to indicate openness, to eye contact to showcase trust. 

Virtual meetings can be limiting when making a first impression. You have less of an opportunity to do something nice for someone, get to know their preferences, or offer genuine compliments

2. They promote meaningful relationship-building

In-person meetings are key in building relationships among staff and even customers. Did you know that, according to GreatBusinessSchools, 85% of people face to face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships? 

Humans are biologically and psychologically social beings, and we thrive on in-person interaction. We create conversations beyond the task at hand, which enables you to get non-verbal cues through expressions and hand gestures and generally helps you better understand the person you are working with.

how to network face-to-face in-person business meetings

3. They encourage creative thinking and collaboration

In-person meetings inspire creativity. There’s something about bouncing ideas with one another in person that sparks better solutions. On average, this research shows an in-person meeting is said to generate about 13 ideas, whereas a virtual meeting will only generate around 10. 

Getting team members together for brainstorming sessions is a great way to come up with new ideas, concepts, and different ways of doing business. Team meetings give you the opportunity to debate, challenge each other, draw incomprehensible mindmaps on the whiteboard, and find previously unexplored paths towards business success.

Also, many individuals tend to be much more efficient when they are outside their comfort zones. This is because distractions are less. Lesser distractions improve focus and concentration. This, in turn, aids many people to contribute productively in brainstorming sessions.

4. They help businesses build loyalty and trust

Customers who develop emotional relationships and connections with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at 71% rather than the average rate of 45%. In-person meetings with clients and customers are important to building emotional relationships and loyalty. As humans, we love to interact and meet the people we do business with, most especially if we are about to build a new business relationship where trust needs to be established.

Seeing a warm smile, hearing our names on people’s lips, giving a handshake and watching people speak creates an indelible experience in our minds that we can reference. In-person meetings give us the opportunity to leave footprints in the minds of customers and clients. 

5. They reduce the odds of technical difficulties

Most of our virtual meetings are filled with technical difficulties that seem to be unavoidable. From dealing with frozen videos to barely hearing the person speaking due to poor audio, bad connections, navigating the various tools in teleconferencing software, and dealing with trying to find the best spots to have your meeting, video calls can end up putting a damper on the entire mood of a meeting instead of being convenient.

For more seamless sessions, in-person meetings are by far better, especially in addressing some of the issues mentioned above. Not to mention that you get to enjoy your coffee table discussions that give you a better perspective or ideas on how to deliver results.

Restart your business travel programme

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